If you’re a longtime fan of the Chicks, you know that the band isn’t afraid to make a statement. This summer, Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Strayer will headline such iconic venues as Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in a tour that kicks off June 14 in Missouri. Notably missing from the list of stops: the Chicks’ home state of Texas. The whole state. This, as they say, is news, and fans have noticed. But for three musicians that typically are so clear with their intentions—this is the band, as our reviewer wrote about their latest album Gaslighter, who “was so ruthlessly honest about the end of Natalie Maines and (now ex-husband) Adrian Pasdar’s marriage that it might as well have been entitled F— you, Adrian”—they’ve so far remained mum on the notable absence of Texas tour stops.
The Chicks, who formed in 1989 in Dallas, still have a lot of fans in the state, even if their base has a different makeup than it once did. This is their first tour since 2017, and their first since the release of Gaslighter in 2020. That was the same year they dropped “Dixie” from their name in order to highlight racial inequality in the U.S.
It’s been nineteen years now since they changed the course of their career with a little banter before the song “Travelin’ Soldier” at a London show during the buildup to the Iraq War in 2003. “Just so you know,” Maines told the crowd, “we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” The reaction was violent and swift. The band received death threats. Country radio stations hosted events built around mass destruction of Dixie Chicks CDs. The Chicks are no longer part of the heavily conservative country music establishment. And after a while, they didn’t seem to care. During the 2016 presidential campaign they played concerts before an image of Donald Trump with devil horns and a goatee. Today, they track as Americana as much as country.
There are a host of reasons why Texas appearances may not be announced yet: Perhaps the Chicks plan to add some dates for a second leg of the tour, or play a big festival, like Austin City Limits. Maybe they want to avoid the heatstroke-inducing intensity of performing in Texas in the summer. But for a band whose legacy is so tied up with Texas, it’s a shock (and to local diehards, maybe even a slap) to read a tour announcement that doesn’t include their home state. (Texas Monthly has reached out to the band’s management for details.)
For now, the absence of Texas on the list of official tour dates is glaring—but not shocking, in the context of both the group’s willingness to take a stand and the state government’s embrace of extreme social conservatism. That leaves the Chicks’ Texas fans out of luck until further notice. But there’s one saving grace: with Patty Griffin as an opener, the tour will bring a little bit of Texas wherever it goes.